Symbolism in Architecture: A Journey through History

1. Introduction

The essay will explore the theme of symbolism in architecture from different cultures and periods. It will firstly describe the Eiffel Tower in Paris as an early example of “symbolism” architecture. Secondly, the essay will move to Bilbao in Spain to describe how this city has been transformed by cutting-edge architecture. It will thirdly explain how neo-Gothic architecture used animal symbolism to communicate religious messages. Fourthly, the Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart in Sarajevo will be used to demonstrate how war can damage even the most beautiful buildings. Fifthly, the essay will discuss how auricular description of Christ as the Logos can be found in early Christian art and architecture. Sixthly, examples of Eagles, phoenixes, whales and dolphins as symbols in architecture will be given. Last but not least, the essay will touch upon Aboriginal culture and explain some classificatory relationships between family members and strict segregation in roles which were typical for this period.

2. Description of “Symbolism” Architecture from the Past

The term “symbolism” is used to describe a type of art that emerged in late-19th-century France and Belgium. This new art movement was characterized by its highly imaginative style which often incorporated elements from other cultures, periods and forms of art. One of the most famous examples of “symbolist” architecture is the Eiffel Tower in Paris which was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built for the 1889 World’s Fair. The tower was deliberately designed to stand out from the other buildings at the fair and its height (300 meters) was intended to symbolize France’s industrial power and technical prowess.

In Bilbao, Spain, a city which was once known for its heavily polluted river and declining industrial economy, a new symbol of hope and regeneration has emerged in the form of cutting-edge architecture. In 1997, Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum opened on the banks of the River Nervion and helped to put Bilbao on the map as a must-see destination for contemporary art lovers. The museum has proved so successful that it has sparked a regeneration project which has seen a number of other world-renowned architects (including Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Santiago Calatrava) build their own iconic structures in Bilbao.

3. The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary structure for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. The tower was made from iron lattice work and was painted with red lead paint to protect it from rust. At 300 meters tall, it was the tallest structure in the world at that time and it dominate all others at the fairgrounds. The tower’s height was intended to symbolize France’s industrial power and technical prowess. In addition, the tower’s design was inspired by lattice work found in bridge construction which was another area where France led the world at that time.

4. The Spanish city of Bilbao

In 1997, Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum opened on the banks of the River Nervion in Bilbao, Spain. The museum put Bilbao on the map as a must-see destination for contemporary art lovers. The museum has proved so successful that it has sparked a regeneration project which has seen a number of other world-renowned architects (including Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Santiago Calatrava) build their own iconic structures in Bilbao.

5. The neo-Gothic

The neo-Gothic is a style of architecture that emerged in the early 19th century. This new style was characterized by its use of pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses. These features were inspired by Gothic architecture from the Middle Ages but were adapted to suit the needs of modern buildings. One of the most famous examples of neo-Gothic architecture is the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris which was begun in 1163 but not completed until 1345.

6. Animal symbolism

Animal symbolism was often used in neo-Gothic architecture to communicate religious messages. For example, eagles were often used to symbolize Christ’s power and majesty, while phoenixes were used to represent the Resurrection. Whales and dolphins were also popular symbols as they were seen as creatures which could safely navigate between the worlds of land and sea.

7. The Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart in Sarajevo

The Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart in Sarajevo is a Roman Catholic cathedral which was damaged during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. The war caused extensive damage to the cathedral’s roof and interior but, miraculously, the statue of Christ which stands in the center of the cathedral was unharmed. The cathedral has since been restored and now stands as a symbol of hope and reconciliation for the people of Bosnia.

8. The Bosnian War

The Bosnian War was a conflict that took place between 1992 and 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war began after the breakup of Yugoslavia and escalated into a full-scale international conflict when neighboring Croatia and Serbia became involved. The war ended with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement which created a new country called Bosnia and Herzegovina made up of two separate entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (made up of Bosniaks and Croats) and the Republika Srpska (made up of Serbs).

9. Auricular description of Christ as the Logos

Auricular description is a type of artistic representation where objects are depicted as if they were being seen through someone else’s eyes or ears. This type of description can be found in early Christian art and architecture, such as in mosaics where Christ is often shown with his head surrounded by a halo in the shape of a cross. This type of depiction is known as an auricular depiction and it symbolizes Christ as the Logos, or Word of God.

10. Eagles, phoenixes, whales and dolphins

Eagles, phoenixes, whales and dolphins were all popular symbols in architecture from different cultures and periods. Eagles were often used to symbolize Christ’s power and majesty, while phoenixes were used to represent the Resurrection. Whales and dolphins were also popular symbols as they were seen as creatures which could safely navigate between the worlds of land and sea.

11. Round-shaped dome structures

Round-shaped dome structures are often found in Islamic architecture. The most famous example is the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem which was built in the 7th century. This structure is considered to be one of the most important buildings in Islamic architecture as it was the first building to be constructed with a round-shaped dome.

12. Aboriginal culture

Aboriginal culture is the culture of the indigenous people of Australia. This culture is characterized by a number of unique features, including a strong focus on family relationships, a belief in the Dreamtime (a time when the world was created), and a strict segregation of roles between men and women. Aboriginal culture also has a strong spiritual element and a number of unique spiritual symbols, such as the Rainbow Serpent, which are often used in Aboriginal art and architecture.

13. Classificatory relationships between family members and strict segregation in roles

Aboriginal culture is characterized by a number of unique features, including a strong focus on family relationships, a belief in the Dreamtime (a time when the world was created), and a strict segregation of roles between men and women. Classificatory relationships are kinship relationships where people are classified into categories based on their relationship to other family members. For example, in Aboriginal culture there is a strict segregation of roles between men and women which is based on classificatory relationships. Men are typically responsible for hunting and gathering, while women are responsible for child-rearing and domestic tasks.

14. Aboriginal spiritual symbols

Aboriginal culture has a strong spiritual element and a number of unique spiritual symbols, such as the Rainbow Serpent, which are often used in Aboriginal art and architecture. The Rainbow Serpent is a powerful symbol of life and fertility in Aboriginal culture and it is often depicted in Aboriginal paintings and sculptures.

In conclusion, the essay has described the symbolism in indigenous Australian architecture and its specific relevance to contemporary urban architecture in Australia. It has firstly described the Eiffel Tower in Paris as an early example of “symbolism” architecture. Secondly, the essay has moved to Bilbao in Spain to describe how this city has been transformed by cutting-edge architecture. It has thirdly explained how neo-Gothic architecture used animal symbolism to communicate religious messages. Fourthly, the Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart in Sarajevo has been used to demonstrate how war can damage even the most beautiful buildings. Fifthly, the essay has discussed how auricular description of Christ as the Logos can be found in early Christian art and architecture. Sixthly, examples of Eagles, phoenixes, whales and dolphins as symbols in architecture have been given. Last but not least, the essay has touched upon Aboriginal culture and explained some classificatory relationships between family members and strict segregation in roles which were typical for this period.

FAQ

Symbolism in architecture is the use of certain objects or design elements to represent something else.

Examples of symbolism in architecture from the past include the use of columns to represent strength and stability, or using a cross to represent Christianity.

The use of symbolism in architecture has changed over time as architects have become more creative and innovative in their designs. Today, symbolism is used more to communicate a certain message or feeling through architecture, rather than just for decoration.

Architects use symbolism in their designs because it can add meaning and depth to a building, making it more than just a structure made of bricks and mortar.

Symbolism can be used to communicate a certain message or feeling through architecture by using specific colors, shapes, or patterns that are associated with that particular message or feeling. For example, blue is often used to symbolize calmness and serenity, while red may be used to symbolize passion and energy.

There are some negative aspects to using symbolism in architecture if it is not done tastefully or if it is overdone. Too much symbolism can make a building look tacky or gaudy, and it can also take away from the overall functionality of the space.

The impact that symbolic architecture has on those who experience it depends on the individual viewer's interpretation of the symbols being used. For some people, symbolic buildings may evoke feelings of awe and wonderment, while others may find them confusing or even off-putting